In a recent trip to Paris, I fully enjoyed the city of lights and everything Parisian. But… as a web marketer, I saw the capital of France in a different light. It was the world of domain names. They were everywhere. Web addresses were on store windows, tour buses, museum posters and even on television commercials. The Parisians are doing an excellent job of marketing their domain name to the public.
Their use of extensions was of interest to me as well. I knew exactly who a business was targeting. For France: .fr, Europe: .eu, and International: .com.
Choosing the right domain extension is an important element in the selection process. While there are many extension types now available, here are the big three:

1. Country Specific Domains
(i.e. Canada .ca, United Kingdom .co.uk, United States .us, Australia .au, Germany .de)
Google is a perfect example. For each country specific search engine, they use the extension for that country. The most recent one is g.cn (for China). You must be a citizen, resident or have a registered business or organization in that country to be able to register this type of extension. This is a good choice if you are marketing yourself as a country specific business or non-profit organization. It also helps you get listed in search engines designed for that country.

2. Non Commercial Domain (.org)
Generally used by non-profit organizations (in the US, UK and Canada). They tend to be charities, community groups, open-source projects, and used by some political parties. This is a good choice if you want to get the message out that are not a for profit organization.

3. Commercial Domains (.com, .net, .biz, etc…)
While there are lots of extensions that fall under this category, the key one register is .com. This is a good choice as it still is the most reputable and considered prime real-estate on the web. Often when web users guess an extension – this is the one. It also allows you to extend your business globally.

All of the above domain name extension types have:

  • Credibility on the web
  • Score high in usability (100% Internet accessibility)
  • Recognized internationally

Once you have determined your target audience, what you want your extension to say about your business, register your domain name – and all the others in that family (known as Internet insurance).
For Get Found on the Web, I use the .com as we serve clients in Canada, United States and Internationally. In addition, I have the .ca registered as well. I haven’t registered .org as I am not a non-profit organization and .net since I do not feel it is worth the investment.

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